All the focus right now in San Antonio is a growing rift between star forward Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs’ organization. After playing less than two handfuls of games this past regular season, it seems that Leonard is destined to be traded during the summer.
Things are bad. Really, really bad.
“There’s a crack in the ‘Spurs Way,'” an NBA executive told Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger recently. “The bottom line is, every team goes through it. And now they are.”
It’s a stunning realization to come to given just how successful these Spurs have been in recent years. We’re talking about an organization that has not missed the playoffs since the 1996-97 season. In fact, San Antonio has made the postseason in all but five seasons in its 50-plus year existence. That’s just absurd.
But there’s definitely a reckoning coming for this organization. Fresh off being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Spurs are no longer considered a top dog out west.
Prior to the Leonard drama, things were seemingly on the outs between fellow All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs’ organization.
And now, according to the above-mentioned report from BR, it got to the point where Aldridge called up his former teammate, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, about the possibility of him moving back to the Pacific Northwest.
“Last season, a deep rift developed between the team and All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, to the point where Aldridge called former teammate Damian Lillard and asked him to approach general manager Neil Olshey about bringing Aldridge back to Portland,” Berger reported.
Ultimately, Aldridge’s relationship with head coach Gregg Popovich was repaired and he signed a two-year, $50 million extension with San Antonio back in October.
Is it possible this story could repeat itself with Leonard? That is to say, Pop and the franchise’s best player mend broken fences.
“I don’t think it can,” the same Western Conference executive said when talking about the two possibly repairing their relationship. “At the end of the day, Kawhi wants out.”
We’re certainly hearing a lot more about this situation recently. That in and of itself could lead us to believe that said relationship can’t be repaired. Once leaks start becoming commonplace around an organization, an inevitable dark cloud hangs over the team. It seems this is the case with Leonard and the Spurs. And it will soon likely lead to an ugly divorce.